As a follow up to the CBC TV interview, “ “ Dr. Reena Sandhu expands on her tips on how to keep a New Year’s resolutions.
A New Year significances a fresh start, a clean slate, and a time to reflect on setting new goals and intentions to make changes in our lives. Typically, by mid February our resolutions are either disregarded or lost.
So, why is it so difficult for us to set goals and follow through on them for the year? The answer may lye in the way we go about creating our resolutions. Instead of focusing on broad goals, create a plan to form better habits. Routine and habit are powerful in forming our behavior. Habit and routine have an enormous impact on our way of being. Habit impacts our health, efficiency, happiness and much more. Creating a habit can impact whether we keep or abandoned our resolutions in 2015.
The psychology of habit can provide insight into making your resolutions stick in 2015. Below are 5 ways to keep your resolutions in 2015.
- Get Specific: Instead of writing a list of goals, write a list of actions that can be incorporated into your daily routine. The key here is to structure the behavior so it becomes a habit. For example, Instead of writing a goal that you will lose 15 pounds by the end of the year, write a list of actions that you will incorporate into your day- so this can be scheduling 3 workouts a week, after work. People who break their resolutions up into manageable chunks, typically have more success because they have more control over the actions.
- Build in a Reward: Every habit has a cue that triggers the habit to start and makes our brain go into autopilot mode, then the behavior follows, and the reward is experienced. This is how the brain leans to remember and habitually craves to create the experience again. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, your cue may be to wake up at 6am to be at a spin class by 7am. Taking out 10 minutes to enjoy the steam room may serve as the reward that helps your brain associate the spin class with something enjoyable.
- Create Accountability: Share your goals with the world! Tell your friends and family what your resolutions are. Research shows that people who explicitly state their goals are more likely to keep them. Telling people about your goal can give you both a support system and a way to hold yourself accountable. It also makes the goal you’re trying to reach less initiating. Publicly announcing what you intend to do I not only empowering, but it can also hold you socially accountable for making it happen. In general, making a public commitment adds motivation.
- Anticipate obstacles: In my practice, I like to encourage my clients to dig deep into their vault to explore their thoughts and feelings in order to understand what obstacles can get in the way of reaching their goals. So if we’re honest with ourselves, we can actually plan for the obstacles – And it’s much more likely that we will still follow through with our resolutions. It’s important to note that a slip up might just be part of the process- it might be an indication that you need to refer back to the 3 techniques to see which one of those components are not working.
- Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself– Resolutions are all about becoming a Better Version of yourself, and not the Perfect Version of yourself.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA